County Durham war memorial protected with a Grade-II listing

Belmont War Memorial.
Belmont War Memorial.
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A memorial to fallen soldiers in County Durham has been protected with a Grade-II listing.

Belmont War Memorial, in High Street, Belmont, has been listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 by Historic England.

The memorial has been listed because of its historic interest as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this local community, and the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Belmont War Memorial, originally erected in the churchyard on the north side of St Mary Magdalene Church, was unveiled and dedicated on November 11, 1919 by the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Durham.

It was provided by Emley and Sons of Newcastle at a cost of £184 in commemoration of 60 local servicemen who died during the First World War, the details of 27 men who died in the Second World War were added in 1947 with two new pillars, the additions at that time were proved by John Lowe and Sons at a cost of £180, unveiled and dedicated by the Vicar, Reverend Pickles, on Remembrance Sunday.

Following the formation of the Friends of Belmont War Memorial, the lettering was re-gilded in 2008 with financial support including a grant from War Memorials Trust. In 2009 the memorial was moved 100m to its current location on the verge on the eastern side of the High Street, opposite Blue House. A new epitaph was added along with one name, and the memorial was re-dedicated at an ecumenical service by the Venerable Ian Jagger, Archdeacon of Durham.

The memorial stands on the eastern side of High Street. It is set back from the road in a paved area. It comprises a tall obelisk, square on plan, in red Peterhead granite enclosed by a low, rectangular kerb. Four red granite pedestals with sandstone caps stand at the corners of the enclosure. The rear pedestals are raised on three-stepped bases; the front, on two-stepped bases.

The obelisk rises from a pedimented plinth that stands on a three-stage base. The principal dedicatory inscription, in gilded lettering, on the front face of the upper stage of the base reads: “In ever grateful remembrance of the men of this parish who have given their lives for King and country in the Great War 1914-1919.”

The 60 names of the First World War fallen are inscribed on three sides of the plinth.

Carol Pyrah, Historic England’s planning director in the North East, said: “Over a million Britons lost their lives in the First World War. It’s important that their sacrifice is not forgotten – and that the lessons learnt during that time are as resonant now as they were then.

“The centenary programme aims to bring us together more closely as a nation to honour the lives and bravery of all those who served. War memorials are a valued part of our heritage and it is absolutely fitting that we cherish and preserve them for future generations.”

She added: “Whether we have relatives whose names are on local memorials, or who fought alongside those who died, we all have a connection with remembrance. I would urge everyone to make sure their local memorial is in good condition. If it isn’t, then Historic England, the War Memorials Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund all have grants and advice available.”